The Columbus Blue Jackets challenged Vincent Trocheck’s goal, believing he was offside.
They were right. The NHL just didn’t realize it in time.
Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella challenged the play, issuing his first Coach’s Challenge of the season. Columbus went 3-for-4 on challenges last season.
After a brief review, Trocheck’s goal was allowed to stand, giving the Hurricanes a 4-3 lead. The Blue Jackets were assessed a minor penalty for delay of game on the unsuccessful challenge.
The puck was dropped moments later, and the teams played out an uneventful 1:15 to close out the second period.
After intermission, Tortorella received an explanation from the officials. Review confirmed that the play was offside. The goal would stand, but the remaining 45 seconds of the penalty would be taken off the board.
“So generous to take the 40 seconds off the clock,” said Blue Jackets forward Patrik Laine. “I’ve never seen that one before but I guess there’s always a first time.”
Here’s the NHL’s official explanation:
Columbus requested a coach’s challenge for off-side prior to a goal at 18:45 of the second period.
During the review, a miscommunication occurred between the Video Replay Booth in Columbus, the Linesmen and the Situation Room and play resumed before all replays could be reviewed to confirm the off-side. The challenge by Columbus should have resulted in the Carolina goal being disallowed. Subsequently, Columbus was assessed a delay of game penalty. After confirmation in the intermission that the play was off-side, the remaining 0:45 of the delay of game penalty issued was rescinded to begin the third period.
The television broadcast initially showed an inconclusive look at the zone entry, with Trocheck’s skates not visible on camera. Instead of a reverse angle, the broadcast showed a different zone entry — one that was clearly onside. The Columbus broadcast crew reported that the league may have been looking at that different entry rather than the one prior to Trocheck’s goal.
“I don’t know what they looked at the first time, but we thought it was offsides the whole time,” said Jackets defenseman David Savard. “I don’t know what to say. The damage was done. It would have been nice to have a tie game going into the third period.”
So what about the goal? If the league wiped out the penalty, why not the goal as well?
Rule 37.2 addresses that.
Any potential goal requiring video review must be reviewed prior to and/or during the next stoppage of play.
No goal may be awarded (or disallowed) as a result of a Video Review once the puck has been dropped and play has resumed.
For the times when there’s a missed offside or missed goal, the clock does get rewound to the time play should have stopped, with all events – aside from penalties – stricken from the game sheet. Those situations, though, come at the next stoppage. As Rule 37.2 notes above, that option is gone once play resumes.
Of course, there’s nothing in the NHL rulebook about rescinding penalties after the fact either…
The puck dropped. The teams played on. Under the NHL rulebook, there’s nothing that could be done. The league tried to make good on the penalty by wiping out the remaining time, but the first 1:15 had already ticked off.
The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline spoke with Colin Campbell, NHL Director of Hockey Operations about the situation.
“There’s never been a goal reversed after play has resumed,” said Campbell. “I can’t recall when a penalty has been wiped out in the middle of it, either, but at this point … even though it’s the wrong procedure, I’d rather go with what’s right.”
Imagine if the Hurricanes had scored on that resulting power play. Under the same rules, that goal, too, would have likely been allowed to stand.
“It’s a bad look for the NHL not to get it right. It’s just frustrating, but you got to move past it too,” said Columbus captain Nick Foligno. “It’s not why we lost the game, maybe you could say it is because we lost by a goal but it was a weird game tonight.”
Columbus managed to tie the game at 4-4 before ultimately falling to the Carolina Hurricanes 6-5.
“Our sport is the hardest to ref,” said Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour. “It’s impossible. That’s why we need more reviews on things. I don’t know how these refs do it.”
Referees for the game were Chris Rooney (#5) and Ghislain Hebert (#22). Linesmen were Jonny Murray (#95) and Tyson Baker (#88)